New Delhi : Not just the cow but spending some time with any animal or pet at home can keep you calm and relaxed, say doctors.
Reacting to Bharatiya Janata Party's Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur's comment that rubbing a cow, from the back towards the neck, can cure your blood pressure, Dr B.M. Doda, senior physician at Walia Nursing and Maternity Home in Delhi, said that any pet can calm you and, may be, keep your blood pressure in check.
"There is nothing special about cows as spending quality time with any animal will keep your stress-free," Doda told IANS.
Several studies have suggested in the past that when we live in a constant state of fight-or-flight from ongoing stress at work and the frenetic pace of modern life, physical changes take their toll on our bodies, including raising our risk of heart disease and other dangerous conditions.
Animals can serve as a source of comfort and support. Contact with pets seems to counter this stress response by lowering stress hormones and heart rate.
According to the latest research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who have a pet have healthier hearts, are homesick less often and make fewer visits to the doctor.
How do animals help? One study says that pets boost our oxytocin levels.
The "bonding hormone" enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure and heart rate, boosts immune function and raises tolerance for pain. It also lowers stress, anger and depression.
Twitter users, however, slammed Thakur's other claim that she was a cancer patient and was cured after she consumed cow's urine along with "panchgavya" mixed with ayurvedic herbs.
"I'm a doctor too. And no, stroking a cow won't relieve high blood pressure. And cancer? Certainly not. Believing in one's culture isn't about talking senselessly," tweeted a Twitter user that goes by the name of @shreyaamishra07.
"No amount of belief can excuse the kind of unverified, non-scientific claims that Sadhvi Pragya is propagating as a cure for cancer," tweeted @tapasya_s.
The crux of the matter is, when it comes to living life stress-free, keep a pet at home as you do not have to specially visit a gaushala for that.